dog pictured in flowers

Avoiding Springtime Problems for Your Pets

In Animal Health, cat first aid, Cats, dog walker, Dogs, pet care professional, Pet First Aid, Pet Safety, Spring pet safety, vet tech, veterinarian by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

What Spring Brings

As many of us begin to shed our winter coats and store our snow shovels, we welcome the warm temperatures of spring. That means more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with your dog or adventure-minded, leashed cat. 

But be vigilant as there are many perils lurking that could cause injuries or sickness in your pet. I reached out to Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, a rising social media star who is a PetMeds partner and who practices veterinary medicine at the Clint Moore Animal Hospital in Boca Raton, Florida.

Let’s take a closer look at a handful of springtime hazards to sidestep:

  • Allergies. Some pets contend with allergies year-round, but springtime can be especially challenging to pets who are allergic to certain plants, flowers and trees.

“Pet allergies in the spring are mostly due to the hot environment mixed with our pets’

fur coats that cover their bodies, causing a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to set up shop,” says Dr. Butzer. “Excessive itching is a primary sign of allergies, but it can also include sneezing and coughing, lethargy, skin irritation and even vomiting or diarrhea.”

She causes that breeds like bulldogs, boxers and French bulldogs can be more prone to skin allergies because they have a lot of folds in their coats that trap moisture and heat. 

Work with your veterinarian to address reactions to these allergies. Treatments may include the need for anti-allergy pills or injections as well as antibiotics and antifungal medicines. A weekly bath containing dog-safe medicated shampoo can help keep debris of the coat that can cause irritation and worsen allergies.

  • Flea and tick bites. These pesky pests become more active and mobile in warm weather. The itchy skin or hotspots may be due to fleas. Be aware that one single flea bite can cause a whole-body flea allergic dermatitis condition to occur, says Dr. Butzer. 
  • Bufo toads. These hoppers thrive in warm waters and are very common nuisances in south Florida where Dr. Butzer practices veterinary medicine. Bufo toads release a toxin called bufagenin that can cause dogs or cats to hypersalivate, display red mucus membranes, stagger when walking, develop seizures, experience cardiac arrythmias and even death.

“Bufo toads are most active in the rain and from around 5 p.m. to sunrise, so please practice caution when letting your dog out in your backyard or sniffing around the water’s edge of a canal or other body of water,” she says. 

If your pet does bite a Bufo toad, she recommends you immediately rinse out his mouth for a few minutes and call the nearest veterinary clinic to alert them of your arrival.

Fortunately, most toads do not pack the toxicity punch that Bufo toads do. Regardless, do flush out your pet’s mouth with water, making sure you point his nose downward, so the water flushes out. 

“The prognosis for survival is good if the pet is treated quickly with activated charcoal, IV fluid therapy and if needed, medicine to support the heart,” she adds.

  • Snake bites. If your pet does get bitten by a snake, quickly take a photo of that snake with your phone – safely – to help identify if the snake is venomous or non-venomous. Do not waste time trying to kill the snake as you may also get bit. The second pet first aid tip is to immobilize your pet and do not let him walk as a faster heartbeat can spread the venom in the body quicker. If the bite is on one of your pet’s legs, purposely position that limb below the pet’s heart – again to slow down the spread of the toxin.

Definitely call the nearest veterinary clinic to alert them and expect the vet team to give your pet anti-venom medication (if it is available) as well as place your pet in an oxygen tank and provide IV fluids. 

On outdoor walks and hikes, take the time to map out a route length based on your pet’s athletic ability and a route that offers shade. Dr. Butzer recommends always bringing bottled water and a collapsible water bowl. 

“Consider also bringing rubbing alcohol that you can pour on your pet’s paw pads to cool them down in case of a heat emergency,” she says. “Breeds more prone to heat stroke are squished-faced breeds, such as bulldogs, Shih Tzus, boxers, pugs and Pekingese.”

Follow Dr. Lindsay Butzer

Veterinarian Dr. Butzer

You can view hundreds of short, helpful videos created by Dr. Butzer on her YouTube channel that sports nearly 48,000 subscribers: She can also be found on Instagram ( and Facebook (

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